Pep Talk Q&A: Silva’s Dancing With The Stars

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I’m totally disgusted with what I saw from Anderson Silva. I know that Anderson gets a certain amount of the blame, but I also blame Joe Silva and Dana White. After the Thales Leites disaster, why would they put Anderson in there with another version of the same guy? Challenge the guy for God’s sakes!

Mario V.

If Maia was the promotion’s first choice to fight Silva at UFC 112 I might agree with you. To the contrary, he was their third choice. Anderson was scheduled to fight Vitor Belfort who pulled out due to having surgery on an injured shoulder. The UFC then went to Chael Sonnen after he beat Nate Marquardt at UFC 109 to see if he could step in but he was too banged up and wouldn’t have had time to prepare. That left Maia as a valid option given that the promotion was scrambling to find an opponent for Anderson. I think you have to give the UFC a break on this one. They did a great job of finding a reasonable opponent when faced with a very difficult set of circumstances.

I listen to your radio show and read your post fight pieces on the FIGHT! website after every event. Love the analysis and your perspectives. So here’s my question. Can you give us any explanation at all, any theory, as to why Anderson put on that embarrassing display or do you believe any of his explanations?

Allan H.
NewZealand

Thanks for the props Allan. As for Anderson, I don’t buy the explanations because they conflict. In the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan he said that “didn’t know what got into him” and apologized for his behavior. In the post-fight press conference, he said that Maia had disrespected him by saying that he might break one of his eight arms or legs, referencing his “Spider” nickname, and that he wanted to punish him. He also said he had nothing to apologize for. Call me crazy, but if he wanted to punish him, it sure didn’t look like it when he made no effort to finish him in the last 17-18 minutes of the fight and barely hit him in the last two rounds. And Demian’s comments were tame by pre-fight trash talk standards, so I’m having a hard time buying that he was so offended that they were the cause of his performance.

Watching Anderson, I almost felt like I was watching someone who wanted to get cut but not get a loss on their record. Why would you risk the ire of UFC President Dana White, the fans and the rest of Zuffa management by embarrassing everyone involved? Why not put a fighter away that was ripe for the taking for the entire 25 minutes? You may remember that in 2008 Anderson wanted to fight Roy Jones and was not given permission by Zuffa to do so. Is it possible that Silva thinks there are greener financial pastures in boxing or has even been approached with a specific fight and knows the only way to pursue it is to fight his way out of the promotion? Or perhaps he’s not thrilled that he couldn’t pursue that opportunity while watching Rampage blow up a PPV and season of TUF to pursue a movie. Different situation but similar in the vein of being allowed to do something outside the promotion that could or does interfere with his UFC contract. While I’m sure Zuffa has the Spider locked in a formidable legal web and the strategy wouldn’t work out for him, you asked for a theory and that’s the most creative one I’ve got.

Pep, can you please tell me how the hell two judges gave Silva 50-45 scores when he did nothing in the final two rounds and even had to be warned that a point would be taken if he didn’t engage in the fight? I just don’t get it.

Bernie G.

Actually Bernie, I can’t answer your question because I don’t understand how any fighter who is not engaging in the fight can be given a round over opponent who is at least making an attempt to pursue and engage. Given that Anderson won the first three rounds, the scoring would not have changed the outcome of the fight absent 10-8 rounds, but the idea that he was awarded a shutout by two judges is absurd. Just like the scoring would have been irrelevant at that point, so was the referee warning with a minute left in the fight. Too little, too late. Just a token measure to play to the fans. I would have applauded the warning if it were done early in the fourth round, but at that point in the fight, it was an irrelevant gesture.

What should be next for Anderson? I am honestly confused as to what I’d want to see next for him. Dana seemed really pissed so I’m really interested to see what they’re going to give him. I assume they’ll want to punish him somehow, but what can they do that lets him know its not OK to do what he did but not punish the fans at the same time?

Kenneth
New York

The UFC has a real challenge on its hands with Anderson’s next opponent. There are two ways to send a message. One is by the choice of opponent, the other is to hit him in the wallet. When they wanted to force Anderson to engage after the Leites fight, they had him go up to 205 and take on Forrest Griffin. We all know how that turned out. The risk of moving him up for a one-off fight at 205 is that he may annihilate another contender which really hurts the UFC more than Anderson. Few things speak louder than money, however. Many top fighters, and I’d be shocked if Silva isn’t one of them, have Pay Per View bonuses built into their contracts. I would put him in the main event of a free card on Spike or Versus. That would deprive him of the opportunity to make a substantial bonus on a PPV while not forcing fans to pay to see him fight next time since they basically got cheated by his performance at 112. If he performs like the fighter we know he is, then put him on a PPV blockbuster after that.

As for an opponent, Chael Sonnen would be my suggestion. Anderson turned himself into a heel in Abu Dahbi and Chael’s outspoken manner and anti-Anderson comments will make an angry fan base happy. It’s ironic that when he came out against Silva before his fight with Marquardt at UFC 109, fans dismissed him as a guy trying to get attention. Now he seems prophetic. He also has a style that will absolutely make Anderson engage as he will go for takedown after takedown. He’ll either shock the world or go out on his shield. Sonnen will repeatedly take Anderson down or he’ll get tagged in the process and put away. Either way, it will be a fight, not a Dancing with the Stars episode.

Larry Pepe is the host of Pro MMA Radio. Follow him on Twitter @LarryPepe.

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